Sunday, 23 February 2014

High Tide 03:41 (2.30m)
Low Tide 09:48 (0.80m)
High Tide 16:21 (2.10m)
Low Tide 22:16 (0.90m)
Sea temperature: 7, last time it was taken
Sea conditions: very shallow again 
Weather: much colder and windy today, but yesterday was glorious
Joined by: The Usual suspects, apart from The Pirate, who has been on an early teaching rota and being godly.
Topics of conversation:
The tides have been very unusual recently, in fact were are starting to wonder whether the movement of the sand has impacted on the tides even more than we first suspected. The beach itself has continued to change dramatically over the last few weeks, since the surge, with all the sand that was stripped from the dunes slowly coming back in with the tides and the shingle shifting in huge banks almost daily. Yesterday there was a cliff of really small stones, where the day before there had been a 2 tiered slope with much larger stones. There is still a shallow trough in which we can swim, although yesterday The Poet attempted to wade all the way out to deeper water, whilst we splashed about in the shallows. We have now identified where the wooden stakes are, so can steer clear, they are directly opposite Michael and Claire's beach hut - number 26, in case any other fair weather swimmers are reading this.
Looking out to sea

Looking inland from the same point 
One of the main topics of conversation this morning was the totally irrational and mildly deranged behaviour of the Chair of the Trust yesterday, who had decided to throw his weight about (because he could) and blocked the swimmers from leaving the car park at 8.15 as it was 'closed', as if! We were all cold and on our usual routine of rushing home to warm showers so we were not taking any prisoners and gave him very short shrift. If I was feeling generous I'd say it's not his fault; he can't be expected to know that we swim every day at the same time, day in day out, and that those in cars always park in the same place, as he doesn't actually live here day in day out. But I wasn't feeling generous, nor were the others, so I can't repeat what the group really said. Suffice to say The Pirate would have objected to the language and it confirmed that the Chair has done little to improve his already pretty dodgy reputation.
We found the sign that The LE had identified and alerted me to earlier in the week "Nearly tripped over this sign, washed up from Southwold today. V windy, long walk out and wild waves but hey, that's sea biz!" and moved it, it took all of us to get it out of the water, so I'm glad it hadn't been sailing around with us, the damage could've been nasty.
The Poet wanted to know how the goat was doing. It's a long story but involves him and Mertz getting together and arranging an 'African goat night', as they have family or hail from Africa, which had led to The Poet arriving at our house with a carcass yesterday. Then they got cold feet, thinking it was rather smelly and not knowing how they wanted to cut it up. As The Poet's sister in law is a qualified butcher I'm still not sure why I ended up with the job, especially as I don't eat meat. There's been a curry on the go here ever since, the house smells like a tribal village on a feast day.
Look away now if you are squeamish.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

High Tide 00:10 (2.60m)
Low Tide 06:22 (0.50m)
High Tide 12:36 (2.30m)
Low Tide 18:18 (0.70m)
Sea temperature: not taken
Sea conditions: not bad - shallow but with a swimmable trough
Weather: Grey but with very interesting dark blue clouds out to sea
Untreated iPhone pic
Joined by: The Usual Suspects
Topics of conversation: I know we discussed goat meat, infections from hospitals, DK's trip to London and his having to check whether David Walliams was really taller than him, the various am. dram. performances in the village during the theatre season, Ikea and flat pack furniture (DK and legs had been on their way home, meatballs (natch), and the meaning of the word 'nesh' (DK was more right than my family, Mother has misappropriated it to mean 'starting to feel unwell' but DK said it's being a wuss. Urban Dictionary states: nesh - Being either afraid of the cold or feeling the cold a lot. Used across the Midlands of England and the north "You nesh git, you don't need a coat."
But actually the only thing from this morning's conversation that really stuck with me was The Pirate saying he was learning to play 'Aunt Misbehavin' on the harp. As if that wasn't enough to get my head around the 3 boys then began their own renditions of Fats Waller's classic, well at least I think that's what they were doing. Here's the real thing:

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Low Tide 05:17 (0.50m) 
The shingle bank has grown again
High Tide 11:34 (2.30m) 
Low Tide 17:12 (0.70m) 
High Tide 23:35 (2.60m
Sea temperature: 5.6 

Sea conditions: calm, silvery and deep - perfect
Weather: cold and crisp with a huge sun on the horizon
Joined by: The Usual Sunday Suspects (i.e. no Pirate)
Topics of conversation:
Food - as is often the way on a Sunday, fine food and drink had been consumed by some the previous evening. DK and Legs had been to a pop up restaurant for a slap up 5 course meal and had lovely food, he ran through the menu, puffing out his cheeks as he did. He'd loved the food but had eaten too much, "I just can't do it any more.." he said. I hadn't been out, but Mertz had, so I'd made myself a Thai veggie feast and also eaten too much, so we both wondered if we might sink. 
TBC put us girls to shame this morning by turning up in pearls, and we have since had an email from The LE demanding that we up our game. The email, entitled 'pearls before 9' (she's not a comedy writer for nothing - see what she did there?) states: "TBC notches up the beach dress code by sporting her  (very) cultured pearls as swimwear. Are we all becoming too informal? Perhaps our default gear of North Face/Milletts is just veering on the side of ‘not trying’? I shall be buffing up my tiara for Tuesday. Smarten up, people!" As Legs bought me a wonderful kitchen apron that is styled to look like a LBD, complete with lace and pearls I am afraid that is the best I can do, other than donning my Vivienne Westwood, I don't really do smart... Ooh, which reminds me - I still have The LE's lovely gold crocheted cardigan! Sorry LE.
DK and Legs are off to the big smoke today for a huge celebration of the end of the Michael Grandage season at the Noel Coward Theatre, where everyone who has taken part will be back patting and raising glasses. We await DK's list of stars he's mingled with on Tuesday morning, it's always fun to hear his take on the such events.
It really was glorious this morning, the forecast had been good, but hadn't prepared me for the glow the sun had and that it gave us all. Even the cold wind couldn't stop us from hanging about longer than normal. There has now been an agreement to bring the swim time earlier after half term in order to make the most of the sunrise.

The LE had been to see August - Osage County yesterday and it's our first booking since my Film Club partner's surgery, so I was keen to hear how she found it. As it's based on a stage play she felt the set pieces were very successful and likened the meal scenes to how she imagined life in Beckett Mass. with Leg's family. I can't wait to see it.
The Poet's performance - he's in another play at the moment, one that is being performed nightly in the village hall and we are all willing him to remember his lines. Apparently it's a great show, with 'those who count' saying it's bester than the professional theatre over the river. The Poet is determined that Mertz should see it. We all tried to make him understand that Mertz doesn't do theatre, or cinemas for that matter (hence my having a Film Club partner), but the arena he will have no trouble luring him into is the goat supper he's planning, we discussed using goat to make Babotie and whether it was too lean, as well as what would be the best kind of goat curry. The Poet asked me to offer him a shoulder, cue more witless puns about having a shoulder to cry on. From Wiki:
Bobotie /bɒˈbti/, also spelt bobotjie, is a South African dish consisting of spiced minced meat baked with an egg-based topping.[1] Bobotok was an Indonesian dish consisting of meat with a custard topping that was cooked in a pan of water until the egg mixture set.[2] Colonists from the Dutch East India Company colonies in Batavia probably introduced bobotie to South Africa.The first recipe for bobotie appeared in a Dutch cookbook in 1609.[2] Afterwards, it was taken to South Africa and adopted by the Cape Malay community.[1] It is also made with curry powder leaving it with a slight "tang".[3] It is often served with Sambal.[4]
It is a dish of some antiquity: it has certainly been known in the Cape of Good Hope since the 17th century, when it was made with a mixture of mutton and pork.[5] Today it is much more likely to be made with beef orlamb, although pork lends the dish extra moistness. Early recipes incorporated gingermarjoram and lemon rind; the introduction of curry powder has simplified the recipe somewhat but the basic concept remains the same. Some recipes also call for chopped onions to be added to the mixture. Traditionally, bobotie incorporates dried fruit like raisins or sultanas. It is often garnished with walnuts, chutney and bananas.[6]
Although not particularly spicy, the dish incorporates a variety of flavours that can add complexity. For example, the dried fruit (usually apricots and raisins/sultanas) contrasts the curry flavouring very nicely. The texture of the dish is also complex, with the baked egg mixture topping complementing the milk-soaked bread which adds moisture to the dish.
The Bobotie recipe was transported by South African settlers to colonies all over Africa. Today, recipes for it can be found that originated in white settler communities in KenyaBotswanaZimbabwe and Zambia. There is a variation that was popular among the 7,000 Boer settlers who settled in the Chubut River Valley in Argentina in the early 20th century, in which the bobotie mixture is packed inside a large pumpkin, which is then baked until tender. A dish in a Bobotie style has been made with haggis in Scotland, but this is not true bobotie.
I'd lit the fire in the sauna before I left and we all agreed it was time to have another Swimmers' sauna party, although I'm not sure about The Poet's idea of him and DK running the naked gauntlet...

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Low Tide 04:45 (0.60m)
High Tide 11:06 (2.30m)
Low Tide 16:42 (0.70m)
High Tide 23:02 (2.50m)
Sea temperature: not taken - too rough

Sea conditions: too rough
Weather: rough, very, very strong wind barreling up the coast from the south
Joined by: The Poet and The LE
Topics of conversation:
Jagger posing
Was it too rough? This was the main topic and it didn't take me long to decide as I was nearly blown over and the sand was hitting the dogs in the face. It wasn't hitting His Magnificence in the face as he is now so enormous and magnificent, but it did make his hair look like waves.
DK and The Poet decided to have a dip and I went off to put some stuff in the hut, which I was shocked to find was shaking in the wind. On my return the boys were attempting to retain some semblance of modesty but their towels were whipping around their waists so I averted my gaze. In doing so I discovered that Mabel had spotted some sea spray and foam rolling up the beach and off she'd flown...Her recall is non existent at the best of times but the wind made our calls pointless and she was like a possessed dog with only a mind to head north with the wind. The river would block her way, was my first thought, but then as I got closer to the river wall I realised that the sand had banked up, creating a perfect slope. If she kept running she'd just go straight of the top, so I started running, with my heart pounding. Fortunately, just as she got to the end she discovered a little sheltered area, where all the foam was collecting and it caught her attention - she was captive in the shallows. I scooped her up, having stupidly set off without a lead, and carried her back to DK, who was walking up the beach with the wind behind him. Even though I didn't get in the sea I got my exercise for the morning. 
I haven't seen the team all week as I've been working and been in London for a couple of days, I'd managed to swim on my own (always with my mind on safety) a couple of mornings, before the others and we'd passed as I'd been going home. On one occasion I'd seen The Pirate who waved and asked "have you warmed it up for us then?!" Hopefully we'll all be back on the same schedule soon as the sun is rising so much earlier. Yesterday's sunrise had been glorious and we like to get in once it's over the horizon, I seem to remember that half term was our moving back to the earlier slot last year. I'll call a conference tomorrow, which is due to be fine, but cold. I must clear out the grate in the sauna too and bring some dry logs in to get it fired up, tomorrow should be perfect.
Me and my shadow

Saturday, 8 February 2014

High Tide 04:53 (2.20m)
Low Tide 11:08 (0.90m)
High Tide 17:50 (2.10m)
Low Tide 23:35 (1.00m)
Sea temperature: not taken
Sea conditions: shallow and choppy with a trough
Weather: promising as the wind was blowing blue skies our way
Joined by: The Usual Suspects
Topics of conversation:
Flotsam and jetsam - Yesterday we'd swum in the rain from the beach huts and the water had been much calmer. We'd been conscious of the stumps, which have been exposed again at that end of the beach and discussed finding some way of making them. Yesterday evening I'd been on the beach with the dogs as the sun was setting and it had been a beautiful evening, marred only by the rubbish on the sand and shingle. Since the surge the wind has distributed all the flotsam everywhichway and it has seemed pointless to clean it all up but I realised that it just gets moved about by the tide each day as we watched a plastic potty move up and down the beach over the last week so I did a mini beach clean as the sun went down. This morning we spotted something new blowing in the wind just where The Poet comes over the dunes towards us. He retrieved it and held it up - a buoy with a flag, beautifully made and marked with it's boats details.

The "Mary Lauree" is a small fishing boat, registered to the EU fleet and based in northern France. She comes from Grandchamp-Maisy and is 9m long, so the buoy must have floated off from her nets and travelled up the Channel to the North sea. We thought it's make a great 'in residence' flag for the team to know when the hut is open if it's raining, but it is too big to fit inside and will surely get nicked if left out, so I have taken it home and will shorten it as I can't see the fishermen wanting to travel this far to retrieve a polystyrene block and a bamboo pole. It's currently acting as a wind vane in our pond, where it floats perfectly in the deep end. The Pirate and I tried to recall O level french and plumped for sending an email, if we could find an address, with the title "Nous avons votre pendant". I'll have to check that with my French speaking friends if it comes to it though. He told me about a girl who tried to wing it in a spanish test when she needed to write 'hamster' so she looked up 'ham' and 'stir' and put them together, I guess that would be 'jamonagitar' - henceforth all hamsters shall be named thus.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

High Tide 01:03 (2.80m)
Low Tide 07:29 (0.30m)
High Tide 13:44 (2.40m)
Low Tide 19:29 (0.70m)
Sea temperature: not taken
Sea conditions: very shallow, wind whipping the waves up
Weather: stunning
Joined by: A very busy morning on the beach today, DK and I counted 11 as we felt the baby on the Buddhist's wife's back counted as a whole person, being up and out that early. Full head count: DK & The Pirate (obvs), Sara (bystanding) and The Poet, TBC, The LE, The Artist (bystanding), The Buddhist and his family and me (bystanding).
Topics of conversation:
Lots, I was a bit out of sorts so didn't swim as the waves were whipping, and as a result don't remember much, other than the new arrival on our Lane. She's a puppy, and delightful, not named yet as they are waiting for their son to visit and name her. Many have been suggested.
It was actually hard to concentrate on any conversation this morning as the sunrise was so breathtaking and the beach had been swept by the wind, making the sand smooth and rippled, where the seabed was exposed there were little pools. My dogs had a ball running round and round on the soft sand and chasing each other. In fact all the dogs seemed happy with the weather too, so it's a dog themed blog with some more images of Jess, Bosco and Luna.